THE UNITE for Europe march that took place in London on Saturday coincided with events to mark 60 years since the EU’s founding agreement, the Treaty of Rome, was signed.
The march, which was due to set-off from Park Lane at 11.00am, was delayed by more than an hour, with some suggesting police were unprepared for a turnout being much higher than expected.
Many EU nationals living in Britain joined the crowd, represented by the group ‘The 3 Million’, but many British citizens and families also marched to protest the Government’s plans for a hard Brexit.
Blue and yellow, the colours of the EU, dominated in the crowd and marchers carrying flags representing the countries of the union travelled along Piccadilly, Pall Mall and Whitehall before massing at Parliament Square.
A minute’s silence was held to remember the victims of the Westminster attack after organisers refused to call off the event, saying ‘we will not be intimidated… We will march on the heart of our democracy and reclaim our streets.’
Some banners carried a despairing tone, with one declaring Brexit ‘a EUge mistake’, while another simply declared in big letters: ‘Tut’.
But among the crowd, there was almost a carnival atmosphere. In the heart of the throng, a full marching band of drummers kept up a beat and the crowd responded with cheers.
Alastair Campbell was spotted in the crowd taking a selfie with one of the organisers. He also addressed protesters in Parliament Square and said: ‘We can persuade Theresa May to change her mind, she’s already done it once.’
On its website, Unite for Europe says: ’We are the 48 per cent, who voted against Brexit and those who were not allowed to vote against it – the young and the EU nationals living, working and paying taxes in the UK. We are outraged by the government’s current direction in dealing with the result of the referendum.’
Making the case for those, who ‘fundamentally never wanted Brexit’, organisers hope the march will have prompted Parliament to listen to those who want the UK to remain a member of the single market, secure the benefits of the EU membership and guarantee that EU citizens already in the country will have a right to stay.
Rallies celebrating the 60th anniversary of the EU’s founding treaty were also held in Berlin, Rome and Warsaw.